NEW DELHI: After a gap of three decades, Doberman Pinschers are back policing the Sino-Indian border along with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel. The paramilitary force has reintroduced the German breed into its K-9 squad with a view to increasing the variety of dogs under its command.
The accent on variety is meant as insurance against outbreak of disease amongst the canines. The Union Home Ministry recently greenlighted a proposal for limited breeding of Dobermans in order to manage the genetic variety of its canine troops.
The Doberman breed was replaced in the ITBP K-9 unit in 1991 owing to degradation in quality due to inbreeding by private breeders.
But the force is now welcoming the breed back. ITBP deputy inspector-general (veterinary) Sudhakar Natarajan said, “The Doberman is excellent for roles like attack, patrol, explosive detection and tracking and can acclimatise well for deployment in high altitude as well as hot and humid conditions.“
ITBP veterinarians have identified three pairs of pure-bred Dobermans and bred 15 pups. They have been trained for six months at the National Training Centre for Dogs at Panchkula in Haryana and deployed in different locations. Some of the ITBP canines that kept order during the recent Manipur elections were from this batch of pups.
Natarajan said that from hereon the vigour of the breed will be maintained through proper in-house breeding.
The ITBP has a K-9 unit of 300 dogs including German Shepherds, Malinois and Labradors. The K-9 squad is deployed for securing installations during visits by foreign dignitaries and during national festivals like Republic Day.
The ITBP also trains the canines of the Special Protection Group (SPG) which provides security to Prime Ministers and their immediate family members. Additionally, ITBP canines are deployed in high-altitude locations along the China border and in naxalite-affected areas.